President Obama has unveiled a plan to expand
the U.S. coastal
areas available for offshore oil drilling. The plan may come as a
surprise to environmentalist supporters of Obama, and will be especially
surprising to fans of Sarah Palin, who saw Palin's 2008 chant "drill baby drill" widely mocked by the left.
The plan would open the Atlantic coast from Delaware to Florida,
parts of the Gulf of Mexico, and a large area north of Alaska. Here are the challenges and payoffs of
the offshore drilling plan.
- Why He's Doing It The New
York Times' John Broder explains, "The
proposal is intended to reduce dependence on oil imports, generate
revenue from the sale of offshore leases and help win political support
for comprehensive energy and climate legislation." Democrats "have
already made significant concessions on coal and nuclear power to try to
win votes from Republicans and moderate Democrats. The new plan now
grants one of the biggest items on the oil industry’s wish list — access
to vast areas of the Outer Continental Shelf for drilling."
Unlikely to Win Cap and Trade Mother Jones's Kevin Drum is puzzled. Why
would Obama enact conservatives' two greatest energy wishes without the
guarantee of anything in return? "Does he seriously think this will 'help win political support for comprehensive energy and climate
legislation'? Wouldn't he be better off holding this stuff in reserve
and negotiating it away in return for actual support, not just hoped-for
support? What am I missing here?"
- ...Unless The Deal Is
Already Done The Washington Independent's Aaron Wiener speculates,
"If Obama’s goal here is to win support for a climate bill, wouldn’t he
have waited to use this leverage until negotiations in the Senate had
actually begun in earnest? Or has he already struck a deal with
oil-state moderates like Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lisa Murkowski
- Reaction to Rising Global Demand 24/7 Wall
St.'s Douglas McIntyre explains,
"The race for new deposits has heated up, especially since China’s oil
needs have increased sharply. China has made deals to fund drilling into
huge reserves off of Brazil and part of Africa ... Enabling American
producers to drill in their own back yards may be critical to keep the
cost of exploration by US companies low."
- This Is Not
Environmental Policy Econo-blogger Mark Thoma scoffs, "Increasing
the risks to the environment in an attempt to save the environment seems
like a less than optimal strategy."
- Shifting Environmental
Politics NBC News' Chuck Todd muses, "Amazing the politics of offshore oil drilling has
shifted so dramatically that a Dem POTUS could do this w/little fear of
enviro retribution." Todd also passes along a tweet suggesting that
"all will be forgiven" if Obama passes cap and trade. "Agree?" he asks.
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